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James D. Strachan "Jim"

Company D-2

12 Feb 1940 - 24 Dec 2017

Place of Death: Webster, TX

Interment: Houston National Cemetery, Houston, TX

It is with great regret and sorrow that we must notify you of the death of our Classmate, Jim Strachan, on 24 December 2017 in Webster, TX, as a result of complications from pneumonia. 

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Kim; and his youngest brother, Michael.  Jim is survived by his younger brother, John; sons, James, Sean, and Hugh; daughters, Kim M. and Kim T.; and their grandchildren, Michael, James, Alexa, Alexandra, Alea, Lauren, Morgan, Taylor, Joey, Evan, and Ellie. 

Jim will be laid to rest at the Houston National Cemetery, Houston, TX following his military honors service on February 12, 2018 at 10:00 am. 

Condolences may be sent to James G. Strachan at 281 W Fork Drive, League City, TX  77573-3485, phone  713-839-6644 and email

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations in Jimís memory be made to the American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX  75231.

Well done, Jim.  Be thou at peace.


Class Memorial Pages\D-2 Jim Strachan.pdf


James Dean Strachan
February 12, 194O - December 24, 2O17

Colonel James Dean Strachan ("Jim"), age 77, was born in Galveston, Texas to Gordon and Melba Strachan on February 12, 1940.  His father, Gordon, was a Reporter for the Galveston News and his mother, Melba, was the 1938 Miss Oklahoma Harvest Queen.  Jim was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from the 20th District of Illinois in 1957 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from West Point in 1961, receiving a commission as 2nd LT of infantry.  While at West Point, he ran, boxed, played La Crosse, played soccer and was an expert marksman on the triathlon team.  He was voted most valuable athlete in his company after he scored the winning soccer goal on a penalty kick to win the Bankers trophy his senior year in Company D-2.  Following Airborne and Ranger schools, Jim was assigned to the 25th lnfantry Division in Hawaii.  He later attended the Defense Language Institute for Vietnamese and Spanish and became fluent in both but was first in his class in Vietnamese.  ln 1962, he began his first tour of duty in Vietnam and he spent all or part of every year between 1962 and 1970 in Vietnam. 

ln March 1963, Jim commanded the counterinsurgency 4th Provisional (Machine-gun) Helicopter Platoon of the 25th lnfantry Division which was reported as the first U.S. Combat troop in Vietnam by the Army Times.  An article about his service as an lnfantry and Ranger Battalion officer by the San Francisco Chronicle was read into the Congressional Record describing part of his service in Vietnam.  Jim became Special Assistant to the Chief of Military lntelligence, Military Assistance Command - Vietnam (MAC-V J2), for Major General McChristian from 1956-1957.  Jim later met and married the beautiful and talented love of his life, Kim, the famous Vietnamese stage and radio singer, stage name "Da Thao" at La Cigalle where she sang on the Saigon supper-club circuit.  During 1968-1970, Jim was General Abrams' principal spokesman for all U.S. ground combat operations in Vietnam at the National Press Center in Saigon, Vietnam, where he took flak in some 500 briefings to the lnternational Press during what was termed the "5 o'clock follies" .  ln 1973, Jim was acting Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion/18th Mechanized lnfantry Regiment and later Chief of Training, G3, of the 1st lnfantry Division, (The Big Red One).  Jim later became the Public Affairs Officer for US Army Japan and from 1977 to 1980 was the Chief of Public Affairs of the Army Recruiting Command for three Command Groups.  Jim then completed a tour as a California National Guard Advisor followed by a stint in U. S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) where he was promoted to full Colonel by Ambassador Negroponte in Honduras.  

Jim went on to complete a Master's Degree of Management from Webster University in Wisconsin and later a second Master's Degree in Linguistics from San Jose State University in California.  ln 1980, Jim appeared on the cover of U.S. News and World Report magazine as part of an expose from the aftermath of the Vietnam war.  In 1984, he received the Medal of Merit 1st Class from the Republic of Honduras.  Jim retired from the Army in 1985 while serving as the Chief of Public Affairs in the XVlll Airborne Corps HQ in Ft. Bragg. Jim received a Silver Pen award from the San Jose Mercury News after his honorable service and retirement from the U.S. Army.

Jim was a highly decorated U.S. Army Officer and his many achievements and awards over his 26 years of military service include: Unit Officer CBR Course, MATA Counterinsurgency Course, Command and General Staff College, Advanced Public Affairs Course, Combat lnfantryman's Badge, Ranger Tab, Air Crewman's Badge, Parachutist Badge, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC), Bronze Star OLC, Air Medal OLC, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal OLC, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (11 Campaigns), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Badge with Palm and Silver Star, and the Honduran Medal of Merit (1st Class). Jim was a 100% disabled veteran due to cancer attributed to presumed Agent Orange exposure after nearly five years in Vietnam.

After two years in county government in San Jose, CA, Jim and Kim Strachan moved to Houston, Texas, in 1989.  Jim and Kim founded and ran the Asian American News for many years in Houston, receiving a National Public Service Award from the Washington Times Foundation.  Jim also made several trips back to Vietnam to negotiate Service Agreements between a U.S. company, BFl, and the Hanoi Government for future landfills.

Our dad was a brave man and lived up to the Strachan family motto: "Non Timeo, Sed Caveo" which means "Fearless, but Cautious". He was a brilliant, loving, caring, honest, loyal, and thoughtful husband, father, and grandfather. Our dad was active in each of our lives and enjoyed supporting and attending school activities as a proud father. He was very optimistic and encouraged all of us to do our best and to do the right thing.  He was inspirational throughout our lives and we all were very proud of him and of all his achievements. Dad loved to spend time with mom visiting the Asian community and friends. He adored his grandkids and enjoyed reading books, listening to music, watching football, the news, and classic movies.  He had several hobbies which included, coin and stamp collecting, collecting and shaping rocks and gems, and art collecting.  We learned a great deal over the years from the example that he set as a father and he will be dearly missed by his family and everyone that had the privilege to know him.  Our dad made it possible for us to have so many fond memories throughout our childhood from taking trips across the country in our station wagon to sharing holidays and birthdays together in Japan.  On behalf of my siblings, it has truly been our honor to be your son and daughter respectively.

While caring for Dad, he had me transcribe his words to us on Veterans Day: "Dearest children, Kim, Sean, Hugh, Kimmy, Jimmy, and grandchildren, Michael, James, Alexa, Alexandra, Lauran, Alea, Morgan, Taylor, Joey, Evan, and Ellie: thank you all for the best wishes on Veterans Day.  Never forget that without the U.S. Army, I would have never met Grandma or been able to bring you all back here.  I am forever grateful for our loving family. Grandma and often talked about how important it is for all of you to stick together and help each other, whenever possible. This is because through you, and your children, we will stay alive in your hearts long after we are gone."

Colonel James Dean Strachan passed away on December 24, 2017. Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Kim, and his youngest brother Michael.  Jim is survived by his younger brother John, son James of League City, son's Sean and Hugh of California, his daughter Kimmy of Missouri City, daughter Kim of California and eleven grandchildren, Michael, James, Alexa, Alexandra, Lauren, Alea, Morgan, Taylor, Joey, Evan, and Ellie.

We love you Dad and we are grateful for being part of your extraordinary life.

Be thou at peace.

Your Loving Son, James Gordon Strachan, USMA x'92